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News Release

California Department of Food and Agriculture

Media Contacts: Steve Lyle, CDFA Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462,,

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #11-027


Agricultural officials lift 82-square-mile quarantine

SACRAMENTO, June 3, 2011 – The California Department of Food and Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have eradicated a melon fruit fly infestation in the Arvin/Mettler area of Kern County, ending an 82-square-mile quarantine that began last summer.

“By complying with the quarantine restrictions and cooperating with our crews, the growers and residents of this area helped us eradicate this infestation and end the quarantine as quickly as possible,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “They also helped prevent the pest from spreading to the surrounding farms, and that’s exactly what these quarantines are designed to do.”

While fruit flies and other agricultural pests threaten California’s crops, the vast majority of them are detected in urban and suburban areas.  The most common pathway for these pests to enter the state is by “hitchhiking” in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers as they return from infested regions around the world.

Eradication of the melon fruit fly relies upon trapping. Fly lure is placed in a trap that attracts and eradicates the insects.

The melon fly is native to Asia. The melon fly occurs in Africa, Sri Lanka, China, Guam, India, New Guinea, Taiwan, Rota, the Ryukyu Islands, Thailand and much of Southeast Asia. In the United States, its distribution is limited to the Hawaiian Islands.  The larvae of the melon fly have been recorded in over 100 different hosts worldwide. It is a particularly serious pest of melon and cucumber-type crops.

A female melon fly lays eggs under the skin of host fruit. These eggs hatch into larvae, or maggots, which tunnel through the flesh of the fruit or other plant parts, leaving the interior of the fruit a rotten
mass and making it unfit for consumption.


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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
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